Goths in Comic Books
Comic Books have always been one of the places where artists are free to break boundaries. Probably because they are seen as not having quite as much literary potential as literature (although things like The Sandman, Maus and Persepolis would like to have a word with you there).
For this reasons, goths, and positive images of goths, have been featured in comics for a long while.
The Sandman – Dream and Death
Already mentioned, The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman is one of the best pieces of gothic work within any medium. And part of that is because of two of the characters, Dream and Death.
Dream is the main character, and he is broody, dramatic, and artistic (After all, he holds dominion over the realm of artists and thinkers.) It is easy to imagine Dream as a young boy lying down on his bed and writing love letters to Robert Smith of the Cure.
On the other end of the goth spectrum is his sister, Death. Death is a bright, happy, and pleasing goth and is in some ways the most perfect goth ever.
As Neil Gaiman would probably admit he has some gothic sensibilities himself, it is no wonder that The Sandman contains some great imaginings of gothic people.
Emily the Strange
Emily started out as an advertising icon, admittedly, but she is more than just the advertising cynicism in how to target certain demographics.
The comic books that do feature her do contain a sense of humour that is only normally found within the works of Tim Burton and The Adams Family.
Emily the Strange, thankfully, is also another subversion of the typical “All Goths are gloomy” trope. Sure, she has her interests in morbid topics, but ultimately, she is easily excitable and is quick to be happy when good and positive things do happen to her.
One of the biggest and best Gothic Comics, The Crow, and the movie that came out of it, has probably inspired a full generation of goths in it’s time.
An almost Shakespearian style tragedy, if Shakespeare was a lot more concerned with the supernatural. And leather. And gothabilly clown makeup. The story of a man rising from the dead, to take revenge for his own and his finance’s murders.
The main character shows a large sense of lethality that might not be the best or happiest of goth descriptors, and is certainty a far cry from the more non-cynical goths above. However, all is forgiven for the massive work of art that is The Crow.
Norwegian readers, and those in the UK who regularly grab the metro, will be familiar with Nemi. She fits the sarcastic goth type down to a T, and I would not be surprised if many of the sarcastic goths in the world actually modelled themselves after her.
Nemi is aggressive, in that she has no problems with speaking her mind. That isn’t to say, though, that she turns to violence. Instead, the comic takes pains to show her as a kind and sensitive person who is scared of something which many people are: Growing up.
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